Memahami dasar luar penting untuk wartawan

Ucapan pembukaan yang saya sampaikan kepada para peserta program Media and Malaysia Foreign Policy: Synergy in the Global Frontier anjuran MPI dan IDFR secara maya pagi ini. Program dua hari itu berakhir esok, disertai oleh 18 orang peserta – 15 orang wartawan dan empat bukan wartawan. Program berlangsung secara maya.

First and foremost I would like to welcome each and one of you to this training programme on Media and Malaysia Foreign Policy: Synergy in the Global Frontier, organised jointly by Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Malaysia and Malaysian Press Institute (MPI).

We have with us today 18 participants, 14 of them are journalists, taking part in this two- day programme, representing Bernama, New Straits Times, TV AlHijrah, Suara Sarawak, New Sarawak Tribune and Astro Awani.

We have 4 non-journalists participating as well – two from Research Division of PM’s Department and two academics teaching international reportings from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Thank you everyone for being here today and tomorrow. My appreciation also goes to your respective organisations for allowing you to be here.

My big thank you of course goes to Datuk Mohamad Zamruni Khalid, Director General of IDFR and his team for designing the program that will give a comprehensive overview of Malaysia foreign policy to the participants.

One of the key takeaways of the programme surely will enable all of you to understand the challenges facing Malaysia in dealing with international issues – be it within the ASEAN region, and the world at large.

As you know, foreign policy does not exist in a social vacuum. Students of international relations are well aware that foreign policy of any country, Malaysia included, is an extension of its domestic or national policy to preserve and perhaps enhance our core and non-core values; our short term and long-term objectives to the world community.

Hence, as you can see from the agenda of this training, you will be exposed not only in understanding of Malaysia’s foreign policy but the challenges we are facing bilaterally, multilaterally vis a vis other nations in the global community.

As media practitioners and journalists, understanding our foreign policy is very important. Only then we can analyze global issues – be it related to politic, economic, social from the national perspective.

Yes, we can rely on foreign agencies for news – breaking or otherwise to fill our news pages or TV screen every day. But as journalist, we also have our duty to explain complex issues related to world affairs from our own perspective to our media audiences. Hence to understand why Malaysia take a certain position on world issues and crises, which may be in contrast with those of other nations, will help us in our writings.

The world is full of contradictions. On the one hand we are told that we are now in the age of a global village, implying free movement of people, products and services. Yes, it is true that the entire world is more inter-connected. But elements of nation state system remain intact. There still limited free movements of people, product and services beyond our borders.

Let me illustrate this point with one current example. When we travel, we still have to past immigration and customs check points and now because of the pandemic Covid-19, another check point will be erected – health check point perhaps.

And you can only travel when you are fully vaccinated and have your digital passport. And mind you if you want to travel to Europe, you must be vaccinated with AstraZeneca, manufactured in the region. If you want to travel to the UK if you are vaccinated by Malaysian authority, you still have to undergo quarantine for 10 days when you arrived there. In the case of the UK, they only recognise Covid-19 vaccine administered by its National Health Service (NHS).

Ladies and gentleman, I hope this training programme will give you insight on how foreign policy of a sovereign state like Malaysia works and functions; how it serves our national interest abroad in the short term and long term and how global village works in the context of the nation state system that governed the world presently in the absence of a single world authority or global government.

With the knowledge you acquired in the next two days, I am sure you can write better pieces when it comes to analyzing issues related to international affairs in the context of Malaysia’s own foreign policy position to safeguard our sovereignty and to defend our national interests.

Thank you.